A Map of Africa
The World Map Project
was something that was started by Peace Corps Volunteers to teach students in developing countries who may not have access to books, maps or television a little something about the world. Most volunteers create a world map at their site or help
friends/neighbors create them at their sites at some point during their service. The project is great because it's fun and inexpensive and reassures you that your village will remember you long after you leave.
Antoinette and I decided we wanted to do a map at one of the libraries. In the end, we decided to be a little less ambitious and do a map of the continent of Africa. Since about 90% of Burkinabè school children cannot point Burkina Faso out on a map, we thought it was still something. We told Dounko and Alidou about our idea, and they suggested doing it at the Koumbia library.
the weekend of August 3rd, Antoinette and I headed to Koumbia. We hired a mason to make a cement slab to smooth out a section of the wall outside of the library. When it dried, we got to work. The thing we did not take into account was rainy season. In normal conditions, the blazing Burkina noontime sun will dry anything within a couple of hours, but this is not the case during July and August, when most days are overcast and moisture constantly hangs in the air. So even after 24 hours after laying our coat of ocean blue, we were still working with only a semi-dry canvas. Then the night after we laid the finishes touches on the map, there was a huge rainstorm, which cause some of the colors to run. Even so, for the most part, the map looks nice and will be a good educational tool to have at the library.J'aime la lecture!
After painting the map of Africa, there was a substantial amount of paint left over, and Antoinette and I realized we'd been bitten by the mural painting bug. Since we were both heading to Karaba for the reading camp, we decided to bring the paint with us and paint a mural at the library there. We decided we'd write "J'aime la lecture!
" and have each kid put his or her handprint on the map. When we proposed the idea, we could tell the animators didn't really understand the concept or why we were so excited with our brilliant plan, but gave us the green light to do it. On Wednesday, we painted a big blue rectangle, and the campers gathered around to find out what we were doing. We just said it
was a surprise and they would find out the next day. For the handprints, we got plastic gloves from the health clinic to put on everyone's hands to avoid mess, but we forgot we were dealing with primary school children. The glove plan quickly failed, but the kids didn't mind getting a little dirty. As the animators saw the progression of the mural, they began to understand, and were eager to get their own handprints on the wall. Even the librarian participated! There was a slight misunderstanding with a capital "J
" that according to some resembled a "g
," but everyone was quickly appeased when we awkwardly placed a handprint in the middle of the letter to obscure the resemblance. We then collected all the kids and took a series of class pictures in front of the mural.
The projects were a lot of fun to work on, and now Antoinette and I know that we get to leave a little piece of our work with FAVL and the villages even after we leave Burkina.